EPA announces $40 million for diesel emission reductions

Commercial trucks are a huge source of diesel emissions and a major target of the EPA DERA grant program (flickr). 

Julia Poska | December 27th, 2018

Regional, state, local and tribal agencies currently have the opportunity to clean up their air on the Environmental Protection Agency’s dollar. The EPA announced last week that it plans on awarding approximately $40 million in grants as part of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. 

These grants will fund projects that reduce diesel emissions from school buses, commercial vehicles, locomotives and non-road equipment and emissions exposure for local communities. The EPA is especially looking to benefit communities that currently have poor air quality and for projects that will engage locals even once the project has ended.

This program began in 2008 and has awarded funds to the Iowa Department of Transportation in the past. The state matched the 2018 DERA allocation of $275,123 with funds from the Volkswagen settlement to put over $500,000 towards cleaning Iowa’s air.

Interested agencies have until March 6 to apply. Those in EPA region 7, including Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska can apply for projects up to $1.5 million.

German court gives cities authority to ban diesel vehicles

Munich is one of the German cities that routinely exceeds European Union NOx emission limits. (Vladimer Shioshvili/flickr)
Jenna Ladd | March 1, 2017

Germany’s federal court ruled on Tuesday that cities can ban diesel vehicles in order to lower air pollution.

Environmental Action Germany has been filing lawsuits against cities for years to encourage municipalities to implement policies that curb air pollution. German government statistics reveal that some 6,000 people die each year from nitrogen oxide pollution, 60 percent of which comes from vehicles on the road. Diesel engines in particular spew more NOx than gasoline engines and are more popular in Europe.

The ruling does not require communities to ban diesel driving, rather it grants them the legal authority to do so if air pollution in their city remains above the European Union limit for NOx in the air. Seventy German cities surpassed that threshold at least once last year.

Banning diesel vehicles would have negative implications for the country’s automotive industry. Since the ruling, the German government has proposed some measures to decrease pollution and avoid the ban, which include providing free public transportation and refitting existing diesel vehicles to meet clean air standards. However, it is unclear how the government would pay for such measures.

Germany is merely the latest country making a move away from diesel engines. Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens have policies in place to ban diesel vehicles from city centers before 2025.

Iowa school districts receive grants to reduce diesel emissions

Photo by Twix, Flickr.

A total of $280,359 in grants will be awarded to seven Iowa school districts to reduce diesel emissions on school bus engines.

The funding will be provided by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Diesel Campaign.

The districts to receive the grants include: Albert City-Truesdale in Buena Vista County, East Union in Union County, North Iowa in Winnebago County, Rock Valley in Sioux County, West Harrison in Harrison County,  Westwood in Woodbury County, and Sibley-Ocheyedan in Osceola County.

For more information, read the full DNR news release.

On the Radio: DNR works to reduce school bus pollution

Photo by freefotouk, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s segment focuses on the efforts of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to reduce the pollution caused by Iowa school buses.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is working to limit the pollution caused by busses transporting our children to school.

Continue reading

EPA grant goes towards replacing old push boats’ engines

Photo by Corvair Owner, Flickr

The EPA is giving a grant to the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission to reduce the diesel production of push boats travelling along the Mississippi River. The $498,978 grant will replace engines on push boats that are 51-58 years old.

According to the EPA’s news release, this grant is part of a larger plan to reduce diesel emissions:

EPA has awarded $50 million for clean diesel projects as part of its ongoing campaign to reduce harmful emissions in the air and better protect people’s health. These efforts will replace, retrofit or repower more than 8,000 older school buses, trucks, locomotives, vessels, and other diesel powered machines. Reducing emissions from existing diesels provides cost-effective public health and environmental benefits while supporting green jobs at manufacturers, dealerships and businesses across the country.

Diesel engines emit 7.3 million tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 333,000 tons of soot annually. Diesel pollution is linked to thousands of premature deaths, hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks and millions of lost work days. While EPA’s standards significantly reduce emissions from newly manufactured engines, clean diesel projects funded through these grants will work to address the more than 11 million older diesel engines that continue to emit higher levels of harmful pollution.

DNR offers grant to reduce diesel emissions from school buses

Photo by GreenWhiteOrange

Through the DNR’s Bus Emissions Education Program, Iowa school districts can receive grants to help reduce the Diesel emissions of their buses. Districts can apply for one of two options. Continue reading